Pierce, Franklin

Pierce, Franklin

biographical name


Franklin Pierce.—Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

(born Nov. 23, 1804, Hillsboro, N.H., U.S.—died Oct. 8, 1869, Concord, N.H.) 14th president of the U.S. (1853–57). He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1833 to 1837 and in the Senate from 1837 to 1842. At the deadlocked Democratic Party convention of 1852, he was nominated as a compromise presidential candidate; though largely unknown nationally, he unexpectedly trounced Winfield Scott in the general election. For the sake of harmony and business prosperity, he was inclined to oppose antislavery agitation. His promotion of U.S. territorial expansion resulted in the diplomatic controversy of the Ostend Manifesto. He reorganized the diplomatic and consular service and created the U.S. Court of Claims. Pierce encouraged plans for a transcontinental railroad and approved the Gadsden Purchase. To promote northwestern migration and conciliate sectional demands, he approved the Kansas-Nebraska Act but was unable to settle the resultant problems. Defeated for renomination by James Buchanan in 1856, he retired from politics.

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